The Patriots stunk last night. There’s no way around that. The starting offense and defense was brutal and there wasn’t much positive to come out of the game for the starting units. It’s only the preseason, but if people are going to get excited about a preseason game where they do well, we should also be hard on them when they play poorly. This was a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. Let’s hope they look a heck of a lot better once the season actually starts. With that being said, here are some quick takeaways from the game last night:
– Cordarrelle Patterson is really fast. I may just copy and paste this one in every week.
– Danny Shelton struggled at times, but can be a beast up the middle. One play at the end of the first half, he burst up the middle and forced a throw away by Newton.
– LaAdrian Waddle had a very costly mistake on the Patriots first scoring drive. He pushed a guy to the ground after a first down play. The penalty pushed them from the 5 to the 20. They had to settle for a field goal instead of having a great chance at a touchdown.
– It seemed like Mike Gillislee lost yards every time he touched the ball. Some of it may not have been his fault, but not great for a guy trying to make a crowded backfield. Hill getting banged up at the end of the game might help him out, but it seems like he’s going to be ok, so that might not help him out either.
– Philip Dorsett looked much better, and looked like he finally had some good rapport with Brady. He should be a big part of this offense, especially the first 4 weeks. It looked like they took him out of the slot, where he struggled last week.
– Not sure if it’s a matchup thing, but the defense, and Gilmore in particular, looked horrible against the Panthers last year, and that was the case last night as well. By now, you should know what to expect from Gilmore, so I wouldn’t worry about him, it’s just strange to see the same thing happen against the same team.
– JC Jackson played pretty well in the second half. He had some good reads and tackled well. His combination of special teams skills and coverage ability might allow him to sneak onto the team
– Riley McCarron was running with the first team offense. It looks like, with Berrios still hurt, and Decker unable to pick up the offense, he may make the roster by default. He dropped a few passes late from Hoyer, but there might just be no one else.
– Speaking of Decker, he still looks completely lost out there. He hasn’t been playing with Brady, and he also can’t get it done with the backups.
– Questions remain at wide receiver. Outside of Hogan, Dorsett, and Patterson, no one has done anything to set themselves apart from the pack. With as tough as this offense is to learn, the answer may also not be in a trade or free agent signing. Without the offseason and training camp to learn the offense, it may be very tough for anyone to figure it out. Think back to times they’ve tried: Michael Floyd, Dorsett just last year, and even Austin Collie. None of them were able to make an impact. I’d be surprised, even if the Patriots make a move, that he makes an impact this year.
– I don’t know if Keion Crossen will make the roster, but he looked significantly better this week. He could be a practice squad player for the Patriots this year. With his speed, it’s worth a shot to keep him around.
– Linebacker is a position where there could be some turnover. Ja’Whaun Bentley is making the team, and Nicholas Grigsby and Christian Sam have an outside chance. I’ve seen more from Grigsby than Sam, but they’re similar players. Elandon Roberts started the game, it could’ve been a “prove it” moment for him to show the team he belongs on the roster.
– Bentley ran with the 1’s and even had the green dot making calls out there. He’s going to be a contributor on this team.
– I really hope Jason McCourty makes this team, and I know I’m not the only one hoping that. Because of that, I won’t say anything negative, but I also don’t want to lie to you, so I’ll just say I hope he makes the team.
– Remember that the Patriots don’t have to cut down until 53 players until September 1, so don’t expect any significant cuts until after the last preseason game. The starters probably won’t play at all, so there will be a lot of guys trying to put together some good tape for the Patriots and other teams. Even though none of the starters are playing, it should be a fun game to watch.
Pat is the host of the Weekend Warrior Podcast
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Photo: Archy Worldys